The Rod Rutkowski Bed Fund
Rod Rutkowski, the Director of Health Management, died unexpectedly on October 14, 2019 after 38 years of service to under-resourced patients at St. Margaret and was in charge of disbursing support to patients and families in need through The Bed Fund.
In memory of his dedication to filling in the gaps with hope for under-resourced patients at St. Margaret and his servant leadership, St. Margaret Foundation officially designated The Bed Fund "The Rod Rutkowski Bed Fund" at his memorial service on October 18, 2019.
If you would like to make a donation to the St. Margaret Foundation
in memory of Rod, you can do so by clicking the button below and selecting
"The Rod Rutkowski Bed Fund" in the drop-down box on the form.
During Fiscal Year 2019, the Bed Fund provided financial assistance to 1,000 patients for a total of over $36,625.
Services were provided to patients of the hospital, outpatient departments, the Geriatric Care Center and to physician offices. These services ranged from assisting with medications, medical equipment, medical supplies, family lodging, and emergency housing.
A Brief History of The Bed Fund
The Bed Fund was created at St. Margaret Hospital in 1929 to provide support for people who fall between the gaps of covered healthcare and social services. At the time many children and adults were dying of Tuberculosis. Soon after the fund was created two young brothers, wanting to buy a present for their hospitalized friend, earned money doing chores and saved it in a teapot shaped like an elephant. Sadly, their friend died before they could bring him their gift. So, the brothers decided to donate their teapot full of money to St. Margaret for The Bed Fund. For years the hospital celebrated the boys’ generosity with an annual Children’s Pilgrimage and an elephant became the Fund’s mascot. A baby elephant from the Pittsburgh Zoo was the star of the Children’s Pilgrimage in the 1970s. The original elephant teapot from 1929 and an antique collection of elephant statues are on display in the St. Margaret Foundation office as an inspiration to fill in the gaps with hope.
Examples of individuals who received assistance from the Bed Fund:
A 56-year-old man employed at a minimum pay job with limited health benefits could not afford the cost of inhalers for his Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. The Bed Fund covered the cost of a one month supply of inhalers while a Medical Assistance application is being processed.
A 52-year-old woman with Rheumatoid Arthritis received orthotics for her shoes to relieve the severe foot pain that she experienced while walking and standing.
A 54-year-old man who underwent back surgery had been unable to work for nine months due to his pain and could not afford his medications. The Bed Fund provided his medications including medication for his diabetes and hypertension.
A 61-year-old man who was admitted to the hospital with uncontrolled hypertension had not been taking his medication for months due to financial difficulties. The Bed Fund filled in the gaps by providing his medication.
An 18-year-old girl suffering from respiratory problems had become homeless due to domestic violence and was sleeping in her car in the Waterworks shopping center during a week in the winter in which the temperature was well below freezing. The Bed Fund covered the cost of her first month’s rent for an apartment.
A 41-year-old woman with multiple medical problems and bilateral hearing loss is the sole caregiver for three young children. This woman made arrangements to obtain hearing aids through a community assistance program. She was unable to pay the $250 which was required to obtain the aids. With the assistance of the Bed Fund, the hearing aids were obtained and she can now communicate much better with her young children.
At the hospital’s memorial service for Rod Rutkowski, Director of Health Management, on October 18th, 2019 St. Margaret Foundation renamed The Bed Fund ‘The Rod Rudkwoski Bed Fund.’ Rod had died unexpectedly that week after 38 years of dedication to filling in the gaps with hope for under-resourced patients at St. Margaret. He designed and piloted many of the programs the Foundation funds including the Memorial Suncatcher Program whereby a crystal prism suncatcher is given to families at the hospital’s quarterly memorial service. We like to think that the way the sun reflects through the prism in the suncatcher photo might just be a wink from Rod telling us to continue to be kind, lighten the load and hearts of others, and above all else be selfless. We can never be you, Rod. Yet you’ve set a standard we can follow.
For more information on The Rod Rutkowski Bed Fund, please call St. Margaret Foundation at 412-784-4205
or UPMC Care Management at 412-784-4090.